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(SwStr: t. 754; 1. 265'4"; b. 32'6"; dr. 11'4"; cpl. 74)

The steel-hulled paddle steamer H. T. Jackson was built in 1891 at Glasgow, Scotland, by Fairfield Co., Ltd., and renamed Saint Tudno around 1913. While the exact terms of the transfer are not known, the English Channel excursion steamer was apparently loaned to the United States Navy sometime near the end of World War I.

Known only as Tudno, the ship served under the Stars and Stripes from about the time of the armistice to 21 August 1919. Her log reports that one officer reported on board the ship as early as 21 October 1918. As of 1 December 1918, her commanding officer was Lt. (jg.) William J. Brown, USNRF. There is no record of any commissioning, nor is the ship carried on any contemporary listings of United States naval vessels.

In any event, the little-documented Tudno performed valuable service at Brest, France, in the gigantic effort to return the doughboys home from "over there." She ferried troops from the docks of Brest to the waiting transports: transports that ranged from the giant Leviathan (Id. No. 1326) to New Jersey (Battleship No. 16); from the Cunarder Aquitania to the armored cruisers Frederick (Armored Cruiser No. 8) and Huntington (Armored Cruiser No. 5).

During the course of Tudno's service at Brest, some important people trod her decks, even if only for a brief time. President Woodrow Wilson and his party came ashore from George Washington (Id. No. 3018) on 13 December 1918 as the President prepared to take part in the Paris Peace Conference. Tudno later transported the Chief Executive and his party back to George Washington on 15 February 1919 and again carried him from that ship to shore on 13 March. Later in that month, Tudno conveyed Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and his party from Leviathan to the docks at Brest; and, on 14 April, the paddle steamer transported Secretary of War Newton D. Baker and Army General John J. Pershing to Brest's Pier 5.

Tudno continued her troop-ferrying duties into the spring and summer months and, on 23 June, "received word of German(y)'s Signature of [the] Peace Treaty; great rejoicing thruout [sic] harbor." Six days later, Tudno dressed ship and moved out into the harbor, mooring alongside George Washington; soon the French yacht Dolmer drew alongside, and President Wilson crossed Tudno's deck to the waiting transport, having achieved what he fervently hoped would be a lasting peace.

Subsequently, Tudno took Secretary of State Robert Lansing to the liner SS Rotterdam on 13 July. Six days later, the paddle steamer took a party of 200 West Point cadets and 300 sailors from Leviathan to shore for a visit to Paris.

Her last troop-ferrying duty came on 12 August 1919, when she took 1,400 men out to the transport Powhatan (Id. No. 3013). Two days later, Tudno took on board a case of Pyrene fire extinguishers and eight tires for delivery to United States Naval Headquarters, London, England; and, on the 16th, embarked 12 passengers. Underway at 1755 that day, Tudno arrived at Southampton, England, on the 17th. On the morning of 21 August, Tudno was handed over to the British; and her crew was transferred to Laub (Destroyer No. 263), moored alongside.

The sidewheeler resumed mercantile service as Saint Tudno and retained that name even though she changed flags to Dutch ownership in about 1922. She disappears from Lloyd's lists in 1923-1924.

Published: Mon Oct 19 08:37:12 EDT 2015